Every Picture Tells a Story
You don’t take a photograph. You ask, quietly, to borrow it. ~Author Unknown
Just last night, my husband came into the family room and shared this beautiful picture with me. It had been sent to him by one of the rabbis up at Camp Coleman, along with a lovely note about our girls. I stared at this picture for some time, drinking it in and basking in my daughter’s beautiful smile. Arm in arm with her friend, celebrating her first Shabbat at Camp Coleman, my daughter looked so very happy. And as I looked into her eyes and relished the joy on her face, I felt as if I could hear her voice, sharing a message with me. The picture began to tell me a story and it went like this….
Hi mom, it’s me Yael. I’ve been at camp for a week now, and I know how worried you have been. But mom, I’m doing really well. I have shared the story of my autism and my friends really listened. They have been so accepting & kind and they have never once made me feel different. I love it here mom. Letting go wasn’t an easy thing for you to do & I understand that, but you have given me such a gift. I have met & made some wonderful new friends and I am trying all sorts of new and fun activities. Some of them are hard for me, but that’s okay mom. I’ve learned that all of the kids here have strengths & struggles, even if they don’t have a disability. In that way, I’m not so different from everybody else. I feel like I’m growing & changing this summer. I’ll come home to you a more mature, more independent kid. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? After all, I’ll be a teenager in just a few months, and as it says in one of our favorite Hairspray songs, “Mama, I’m a big girl now.” Camp Coleman has truly begun to feel like my home away from home this summer. I feel safe here, supported, loved & accepted. There is something so special about this community. Leora spoke about it all the time after last summer, and now, I truly get it. Celebrating my first Shabbat here, all of the campers dressed in white, joining together in Jewish music, prayers & dance… it was beautiful mom. The Jewish “neshama” (soul) of this place can’t really be described in words… you just have to be here to experience it and you’ll know what I mean. So mom, I know you’re still going to worry, because that’s just what moms do. But look at my picture… really look at it. I’m happy mom, truly, truly happy. You’ll see it in my smile and in the way my eyes light up. You’ll see it reflected in the joy on my face. You’ll see it in the way I’m standing arm in arm with my friend. Can you see it mom? I know that you can. I love you mom.
If a picture is worth a thousand words… those are the ones I hear when I look at this one.